The Bose Solo is the essence of plug ‘n’ play – just connect your TV, pop the screen on top and you’re set. Once it’s installed, there’s very little to get the hang of. There are no controls to switch between inputs or sound modes, and no Bluetooth pairing to worry about – just volume.
You won’t find any buttons on the unit itself, so everything is controlled using the supplied remote, which may have inspired the design of the Denon DHT-T100’s similar-looking handset. The compact zapper features a rubberised finish with just four buttons that sit flush to the surface. It’s robust, tactile and easy to master.
With fewer features than most of the competition, we were hoping Solo’s sound quality would be sufficiently superior to justify the price premium. Sadly, it’s not.
Don’t get us wrong, it sounds terrific – TV shows take on whole new levels of loudness, its bass reproduction puts most TV speakers to shame and movie soundtracks are imbued with extra depth, attack and detail. But there’s nothing sonically that would make us splash out on Solo over the cheaper yet equally assured Denon or Maxell speakers.
Still, there’s much to like about the Bose’s performance. We watched Man of Steel on Sky Box Office – piped from our TV to Solo via optical cable – and as Krypton is destroyed during the overblown opening sequence, it delivers the action robustly with an impressive sense of scale.
As Russell Crowe swoops around the wide soundstage on his flying beast, punchy explosions wash over the room. Buildings explode with a forcefully-rendered crack that doesn’t sound excessively hard, and you can make out plenty of crisp top-end detail. Crowe’s voice also boasts pleasing depth.
With music, Solo offers puts in an enjoyable performance, but lacks the finesse and lucidity needed to make it a viable replacement for your hi-fi.
As a simple way of boosting TV sonics, Solo does a decent job. It’s also well made and its design offers the right combination of style and stealth. But with rival under-TV speakers from the likes of Denon, Cambridge Audio and Maxell offering more features and similar performance at lower prices, you’d be better off buying one of those.
Bose’s TV speaker sounds great, but better-specced rivals offer superior value for money.
Next, read our best soundbar roundup.